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Telecom Trends to Look Out for in 2020

As the year draws to a close, we’re looking ahead at what telecom trends we expect to see going forward. Technology and work structures continue to develop and change at an accelerated rate. Current shifts happening in digital landscapes such as 5G, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, mean that new tech is being produced and used in telecommunications.

With new technology comes new business practices. The world is becoming more connected, more integrated and more aware. As equipment changes, so too do the people implementing them, with questions being raised around responsibility and sustainability.

2019 was a big year for telecommunications and it has set in motion some exciting telecom trends for the next year. Let’s go through a few of the things we think are likely to take place across the industry in 2020.

Increased Connectivity with 5G

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In 2019, we saw some of the big telcos already launch 5G services in cities around the world. Some examples of this include SK Telecom launching 5G services in South Korea, Vodafone across Europe, China Telecom in China and AT&T in the United States at the backend of this year.

5G is set to transform the landscape of telecoms as it promises faster download speeds and high network reliability. It will open opportunities for new services, network operation and improved customer experience.

Not only will it affect telecoms, but it will also impact consumers. Going into 2020, we can expect more countries welcoming 5G services to their cities. Use cases including smart grid features for the energy sector, self-driving cars and vital tracking wearables for the healthcare sector, we can see 5G transforming life as we currently know it.

The Internet of Things Continue to Grow

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The Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to devices connected through the internet, is set to be an important trend in 2020. IoT tech helps telcos to monitor base stations and data centers remotely, ensuring minimal downtime should your network go down.

Outside of telecommunications, the Internet of Things is likely to cause a shift in other industries too. Use cases already in action include using drones to monitor deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, video surveillance technologies for improved security and alert systems to changes in honeybee colonies.

This past year, the trend has grown exponentially and is expected to be a big source of revenue for carriers. As telecommunication companies are instrumental in providing IoT infrastructure, we can expect that they will continue to reap the benefits of this growing trend.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is already in use across the telecom industry. Through virtual assistants for improved customer service, robotic process automation (RPA) for tasks such as data entry and using algorithms to forecast future maintenance, AI is used in different ways by telcos.

Looking ahead to 2020, we can expect this telecom trend to grow at an accelerated rate with new developments happening all the time. However, as the technology continues to grow, so too does the need to establish ethics.

We can expect to see policies and regulations coming into place next year regarding preventing harm to humanity and respecting human rights. Expect to see new governance structures, ethical codes and employee training programs come into place as more telcos adopt the tech.

Going Green

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An important issue facing all of us today is climate change. The direct and indirect effects of e-waste on our environment is staggering.

Each year, billions of waste is created by the telecoms industry. This waste creates harmful side effects for the environment, such as harmful emissions being emitted into the atmosphere and leaking poisonous liquids and gases being leaked into ecosystems.

Across sectors, consumers are looking at companies to take responsibility and put in practices to improve sustainability. In 2020 we can expect more telcos using green innovations to change how the industry operates; encouraging equipment vendors, hardware and manufacturers to commit to better solutions.

Technology like the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence will likely be used to monitor consumption and help figure out new solutions to the problem. Telecom companies will look to use more recycled raw materials, implement renewable power and apply new modes of transportation.

Mergers for Consolidation

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While the telecommunications market is growing every year, some telcos are merging to consolidate for costs. The number of telecom companies is getting smaller as the big ones are acquiring more assets and becoming more dominant.

In 2019 we saw deals including Ribbon Communications acquiring ECI Telecom and Comcast merging with BluVector. One big deal expected to take place in 2020 is the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and fourth largest telcos in the United States.

Smaller service providers are coming together to better compete with the likes of the big telecom players. We can expect the industry to continue to grow as it has been in the past decade. However, with the new technology coming along, we may experience a more level playing field in the future.

These telecom trends are very exciting for the industry as a whole. Many will invest in new technologies including 5G, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. These will help improve efficiency and allow the way for greener practices. The industry will likely see a change in focus, but we should still expect to see growth by time we hit 2021.

Sources: Telecom TV, CRN

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